Bachelor of International Public Health (BIPH)
External / Online
“Before commencing a Bachelor of International Public Health (BIPH) online in 2019, I knew very little about the field. My core motivation was to promote health and to help prevent people from getting sick so they can lead happier lives.”
While taking part in the Public Health Capstone course, Callum created a website to serve as an interactive tool for health planners in identifying the social and economic statuses represented in local government areas across New South Wales, facilitating equity-focused decision-making in the State. Broken into four categories – Advantage and Disadvantage, Overweight and Obesity Outcomes, Alcohol-Related Outcomes and Smoking-Related Outcomes – the site provides links to numerous interactive maps, presenting a snapshot of socio-economic status, chronic disease risk factors and health outcomes at the local government area level, aiding timely public health action.
Callum plans to pursue employment through a graduate program, or through direct applications to public health organisations such as NSW Health or the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The BIPH has been a highly flexible course. Being able to study from anywhere in Australia has been crucial to my continued study, which I’ve undertaken from three different states over the course of the degree. While it has been delivered online, I have found that the course convenors have continually sought engagement with the courses through interactive webinars and discussion forums. Despite studying remotely, the convenors have succeeded in establishing an active community of practice.
The BIPH also has an excellent educational trajectory and takes students from foundational principles of public health all the way through to practical applications, including how to compile a resume and seek public health work. The BIPH is a holistic program which directly prepares you for a career in public health. The course’s consolidation with the Public Health Capstone is a significant highlight, as it allows you to bring together your previous learning and demonstrate it with a unique work.
My biggest learning from my study at SPH has been about reflection and self-efficacy. The course inspires reflective practice as a recurring theme and provides many opportunities to demonstrate personal growth and development. This has encouraged me to seek further study to increase my understanding of different subject matter so that I can maximise the quality of my public health work.
Through the PHCM3003 Public Health Capstone, I went from knowing nothing about coding, to employing coding through RStudio to create maps using datasets available from HealthStats NSW and PHIDU. This was a highly fulfilling project which enabled me to combine principles and learning from a range of my previous subjects, from the introductory course through to epidemiology and biostatistics, to create an original public health work.
My study of the BIPH has inspired me to pursue involvement in the delivery of population health programs and policies. Multiple courses have made a compelling case for the strength of community-level programs in promoting health, such as through changes to the built environment and infrastructure. Using the principles and approaches I have learnt throughout the BIPH, I feel I will be prepared to take part in this highly rewarding work.
First and foremost, my advice to those considering study at the SPH is to go for it. This is a highly engaging field that teaches broadly applicable, interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving through systems thinking. Further, the BIPH inculcates confidence in public speaking and written communication which are invaluable workplace skills. For those already studying the BIPH, my greatest recommendation would be to broaden the scope of your electives as far as possible. Expanding your capabilities through carefully selected electives can support your generation of unique and engaging works during your future subjects, especially within the capstone.
While significant attention has rightfully been applied to the worldwide impact of COVID-19, my studies have given me insight into the less visible impacts of the pandemic on non-communicable diseases, through impacts to mental health, physical activity, and economic stability. As a result, the pandemic has reinforced my understanding importance of continued public health action to mitigate risk factors which contribute to non-communicable diseases.
I wanted to create an output that would be useful in a professional context, and it occurred to me that a website is an accessible, interactive medium for conveying public health information. Ideally, I hope the website provides an example of the kind of communication products public health students can produce during their studies, while also encouraging them to make use of their studies to develop a wide range of practical skills.
View Callum’s work here: https://cmosespublichealth.wixsite.com/my-site-3
Maps: © OpenStreetMap contributors openstreetmap.org/copyright